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SOS Ocean Racing to chase circumnavigation record on Brindabella

by SOS Racing on 16 Aug 2010
Brindabella Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net

After smashing the solo circumnavigation of Australia record by 26 days in June this year, Ian Thomson, skipper of SOS Ocean Racing announced that he wanted to go around again the following year to break the monohull record held by David Pescud's 'Kaz'. Kaz was part of the sailor's with disabilities program when it set the current record of 37d:1h:23m:7s.

Ian today announced that he will be joining forces with one of Australia's most famous ocean racing yachts, the mighty Brindabella, in an attempt to break through 30 days in May 2011.

'When I set out to find a boat, the first boat I thought of was Brindabella. She still holds so many race records including the Sydney to Southport/Gold Coast, that once again stood the test of time this year even with the 100ft Wild Oats XI chasing it down. She is an icon in Australian yachting, and a beautifully designed boat that still turns heads today. What better yacht is there than Brindabella to take on this record?' Ian stated.

Ian contacted Brindabella's owner Jim Cooney who has spent the last six months carefully restoring her back into the best shape she has been for many years. After tabling the idea and detailed plans, an agreement was made that Jim would join the crew on the journey around Australia. 'I had followed Ian's solo journey this year, and applauded him for his efforts in not only smashing the world record but his awareness campaign of the damage plastic bags are doing to our environment.

In my University days I worked on a marine research project in the Caribbean, and I saw first hand the disastrous effects plastic bags have on marine life.

When Ian contacted me about Brindabella making the record attempt I was immediately excited. Brindabella is now in great shape and to see this classic yacht involved in a good cause with the potential to set the record around Australia would cap off an amazing history.

When Ian raised the idea of the Around Australia record I had no hesitation in joining the attempt, especially seeing him do so well singlehanded.' Jim said today.

The plan will be similar to Ian's campaign of last year where he will set the boat up and then used the Brisbane to Gladstone race as a warm up. Ian has been a major supporter of this event for 7 years now and last year sailed alongside the fleet. (Due to sailing solo Ian could not join the main race however the race officials allowed Ian to sail with the fleet to Gladstone giving his campaign valuable coverage.)

The next record attempt will start and finish from Brindabella's home port of Sydney to maximise media exposure for the attempt and the Save Our Seas Australia campaign. So immediately after the Brisbane to Gladstone Race they will sail the boat back to Sydney, finish final preparations and then wait for their perfect weather window to depart sometime in late May.

Ian had an air of excitement in his voice when he stated 'It is great to have such a perfect boat locked away so early as there will be a lot of work before Easter next year to get the boat ready for this epic journey. And the selection of the crew will also take some time.

These record attempts are not just about the world record, they are about raising awareness of the damage plastic bags do to our environment. In order to keep this awareness campaign going I started the Save Our Seas Australia organisation which will focus on Awareness, Alternatives and taking Action on the issue.

To help raise funds for the campaign we are offering sailors around the world the chance to join us on this campaign.

To join us you simply need to bring sponsors to Save Our Seas Australia to the value of $15,000. Every crew member will have their own sponsor (or sponsors) and they will be their own sponsors representative on the boat for media and marketing. We will be taking a crew of 18 for the journey.'

Nowhere else in the world can you get a once in a lifetime opportunity such as this. To be on the famous Brindabella with a chance of having a world record as part of your resume. It would be something to tell your kids, your grandchildren etc.

More importantly you are actually helping our environment by supporting the Save Our Seas Australia campaign to rid Australia of Plastic Bags that are killing our marine life. When asked what kind of sponsors he is looking for, Ian stated 'We will be somewhat selective as we don't want to involve sponsors with conflicting ideologies, however people can even get their yacht club to sponsor them by raising funds to send a sailor on the trip.

The Whitsunday Sailing Club is looking to sponsor 3-4 people through fundraisers over the coming 6 months.

Alternatively prospective sailors can get several businesses to sponsor them. Each sponsor will get coverage on the Save Our Seas Australia website (www.waveourseasaustralia.com) for 12 months, on the boat's website (www.sosoceanracing.com) and on the boat (Throughout campaign only)as well as on the shirts of their selected crew member.

This attempt is likely to attract major media coverage simply because it is Brindabella, and she attracts attention every time she sails, let alone a world record attempt around Australia.

We are also seeking a major sponsor who will become the founding sponsor of Save Our Seas Australia and have naming rights over the campaign. This is an amazing opportunity that will never come around again.'

The website (www.sosoceanracing.com) states that people interested in joining Jim and Ian on this world record attempt should realise that this is a challenging sail.

Non sailors or inexperienced sailors need not apply as this will be 30 days of arduous sailing. Ian lost a massive 14 kilos when he circumnavigated solo in 42 days however it was the mental stress that he had to deal with that was more challenging.

We all know what it is like on a Sydney to Hobart or Fastnet or other ocean race, where you are pushing for a few days, so imagine the stresses of 30 days.

Ian said he reached his lowest point in life on his last journey, however the finish was the most rewarding thing to ever happen to him. You will need to be fit and have a sound knowledge of sailing.

The selection of crew will take some time and to apply for a position you need to go to the website and download the application form and return it to Ian. From there, following interview and selection process, the crew spots will be allotted.

You must also realise that this will take up almost 3 months of your life - you will need to be in Sydney on the 10th April 2011 for the delivery up to Brisbane and you may not be back until Early July. You will be put through a rigorous training program both on and off the boat to ensure you are ready for the campaign.

After all this is not a leisurely stroll around Australia, this is to set a new world record. It will be hard, but it will be rewarding.

For more details on the environmental campaign visit the Save Our Seas Australia website at www.saveourseasaustralia.com or visit the SOS Ocean Racing website www.sosoceanracing.com for more details on the world record attempt

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